A mother who was mocked for decades because of the 6,000 tumours covering her face and body has shared pictures of her incredible results from surgery.
Libby Huffer, 45, battles with neurofibromatosis, a genetic neurological disorder causing non-cancerous bumps to form wherever nerves are present.
She’s battled the stigma for over 25 years, after fibromas rapidly multiplied all over her body – causing chronic pain that meant even a hug would hurt her.
After sharing her plight, the mum from Fort Wayne in Indiana, USA, was offered specialist treatment to reduce the physical appearance of the disorder by TV Show The Doctors. S
he underwent her second electrodessication surgery June 2017 to kill off 1,000 of the ‘bumps’ on her face and the tissue causing the growths.
To lessen the scarring, she then had C02 laser surgery, which smooths out the skin and reduces the appearances of marks.
She’s noticed a ‘huge difference’ in her appearance since her surgery but hopes that others will be more understand towards people battling with Neurofibromatosis.
Libby, a photographer, said: ‘I am very happy with the results and hope to have the rest of them removed some day.
‘I have had about 1,000 of the fibromas removed so far. My friends and family say that I look great and they notice a huge difference.
‘My life hasn’t been any different since surgery other than I have raised lots of awareness for NF, which has always been my biggest goal.
‘There’s still a long way to go to heal the emotional damage I’ve undergone over the years, but I know that will only improve over time.
‘The more surgeries I have, the more confident I will become and that will help to erase some of my painful childhood memories.’
Libby was a teenager, when hundreds of bumps caused by Neurofibromatosis 1 developed on her skin – the condition affects one in 2,500 people.
After the first outbreak she had a few hundred, but after falling pregnant with daughter Lindsey, now 23, her hormones caused the tumours to multiply into the thousands.
Strangers would stare, point and make horrid comments about her appearance, including that she had a ‘contagious disease.’
Libby said: ‘I have been bullied and victimised my whole life because of the bumps all over my skin, they cover me from head to toe.
‘In school kids would pick on me all the time, they called me lizard breath and toad.
‘I had to change my name from Elizabeth to Libby, because whenever I heard my name it reminded me of being called lizard breath.’
At their most prevalent Libby had nearly 6,000 tumours on her body that raised several inches above her skin.
She believes every aspect of her life was changed because of her appearance – from struggling to find work, day to day interactions and even finding love.
In addition to struggling to defuse people’s misconceptions about her condition.
She added: ‘The tumours all over my back cause chronic pain, the nerves in my feet have a tingling sensation all the time which make it hard to sleep.
‘They can even hurt from simple things like a hug or even if water from the shower hits them in a certain way.
‘But I’m not contagious I have a neurological genetic disorder that cause tumours to form on the both inside and outside of the body wherever there are nerves present.
‘I am a human being too, all I want is to be adored and cared for like anyone else.
‘Instead of making comments, I wish people would talk to me rather than stare like I’m a circus freak, it just makes me feel really uncomfortable.’
Since revealing her battles with the disorder, Libby embraced her mantra ‘If we’re not seen, we can’t be heard’ and started the Facebook page ‘Faces of Neurofibromatosis’ to help unite others with the disorder.
She says the group has helped provide support and further awareness to sufferers.
Libby added: ‘You have to have NF or be the parent of a child under 18-years-old to be a member, everyone in our Family has NF or is a parent of a minor child with NF – everyone is wonderful and very supportive!
‘The page was created on 02/12/16 with only two members, myself and my mom – today my page is at 5,000 NF members worldwide.’
Libby and charity Neurofibromatosis Midwest, are fundraising to further educate the community, fund further medical research into the disorder and more.
She added: ‘We need to show the greater need for more medical treatment and Physicians for Neurofibromatosis.
‘The GoFundMe page is important to me as well as many others in our goal to raise more awareness and funding for NF research for a cure, treatments for NF, symposiums and workshops for Neurofibromatosis.
Mozambique: Government set to impose license fees for local journalists.
Mozambican government has announced plans to introduce license fees for local and foreign journalists.
Local correspondents will pay $2,500 per trip for media accreditation while foreign correspondents living in Mozambique will be charged $8,300 per year.
Mozambican journalists reporting for foreign news outlets will be required to pay $3,500 for an annual accreditation.
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This is 50 times more than the country’s statutory minimum wage, estimated at around $70 per month.
The plan fees have attracted serious criticism as the move has been viewed as an apparent attempt to discourage reporting from the country.
Mozambique’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has warned that the imposition of licensing fees on the country’s mass media must not compromise the fundamental right of the public to information.
In a statement, the CNDH, added its voice to the chorus of criticism of the proposed fees.
It conceded that the government has the right to update licensing and accreditation fees, but said such a measure should not undermine the right to information.
The CNDH points out that the current legal framework on access to information “takes as its guidelines the greatest divulging of information and free access to information… In other words, access to information is a matter of public interest and this access should be promoted and facilitated”.
It added: “The legal framework meant that the relevant state bodies must take measures to promote the broadest possible access to information”.
CNDS also warns that the enormous fees imposed by the July decree are not in line with the guidelines contained in the legal instruments on the right to information that are in force in the country.
The justification given for the fees is that they are necessary to ensure the sustainability of the sector – but none of the money raised by the fees will go to the media.
The decree states that 60 percent of the money from the fees will go to the state budget, and the remaining 40 per cent will go to the government’s press office (Gabinfo).
Meanwhile, the government is showing signs of backing down.
On Tuesday, its spokesperson, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ana Comoana, said the decree will be discussed with interested parties before its implementation.
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South Africa: Man cleared of rape after 13 years in jail
After 13 years behind bars in Westville Prison, Njabulo Ndlovu will become a free man after being acquitted of rape at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in Durban.
The 35-year-old uMlazi man was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of the 2002 gang rape of a pregnant woman who knew him as they went to the same school and their fathers had worked together.
He was 19 and a second-year student at the University of Durban-Westville (today the University of KwaZulu-Natal) at the time. He testified during the trial that he had been nowhere near the place where the gang rape took place.
During the trial, three of the five accused were discharged due to lack of evidence, while Ndlovu and another remained in prison. After Monday, only one accused will remain in prison.
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While Ndlovu was in prison for over a decade, he never lost hope, as he continued pursuing law studies and received a law degree from Unisa in May this year.
And on Friday, a full bench of judges upheld the appeal against Ndlovu’s conviction and sentence. He now intends to sue the minister of justice for damages.